Opinion: Pride and Prejudice

JagWire reporter Maddy Welch reviews the Jane Austen novel claiming it may be more valuable than many teens recognize

Maddy Welch

Picture this: you’re sitting in Mr. Shull’s AP Literature class, about to crack open your copy of Pride and Prejudice and you’re absolutely dreading it. This is the reality for many students who have to read this book, but this shouldn’t be the case. 

Pride and Prejudice is a Jane Austen novel many students are forced to read for their English classes and a book that many people “SparkNotes” their way through. Though Pride and Prejudice is a controversial book, it is one of my favorites because it is still very relatable.

The novel takes place in the early 1800s and is set in Hertfordshire, England, near the county of Meryton. Although students often like to read more modern books due to the easier to understand language, I feel there is a lot to gain from reading classic literature. Many of the themes get carried over into our daily lives.

As the title suggests, the book deals heavily in the topics of pride and prejudice, which are still pressing issues in a high schooler’s world today. Just as Elizabeth made snap judgments about the serious Mr. Darcy, there are too many times when I myself judge people without really knowing anything about them.

Pride and Prejudice also deals with a world before technology and instant communication. The way people got to know each other wasn’t over Snapchat or Instagram but in person. I would like to say that snap judgments are a modern problem, but the reality is they have existed for ages, something classic literature makes clear. Even in the early 1800’s, novel protagonist Elizabeth Bennet was making snap judgments about a man she would eventually marry. If anything, this book teaches readers that while it’s  easy to judge someone, digging deeper to learn the whole story is worth the time.

Another evident theme in the book is trust and the lack thereof. Elizabeth Bennet is trying to find her way through life and decipher who she should believe. This life lesson easily applies to adolescents like ourselves navigating high school. 

There are so many things thrown at us from every direction and personally, all I want is to find a few people that I can trust and know that they will have my back. Even when family situations get tough or circumstances change I want to know that there will always be people in my corner. High school though, is not an amazing place to find great friends and just like in Pride and Prejudice there are lies and ulterior motives that can’t always be perceived at first. 

So, if you ever find yourself sitting in English class, about to read Pride and Prejudice, know that if you look past the setting of the book, it can actually be a really valuable read.

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